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CHICAGO (April 26, 2007) --- When consumer strategist Kelley Styring looked in 100 women’s purses, she found cell phones, lipsticks, weapons and billions of dollars in revenue opportunities for marketers.

Styring’s study - In Your Purse: Archeology of the American Handbag - is the first qualitative and quantitative study of both the contents and the context of a woman’s purse.  The study’s results are being released today at the M2W™-The Marketing-to-Women Conference in Chicago.

“Contradiction is where the genius of innovation lies, and the purse is a bag of contradiction on a string,” says Styring, a former Frito-Lay consumer strategy director and Procter & Gamble researcher who now consults with Fortune 100 companies through her company, InsightFarm.  “I found that the purse - the nerve center of a woman’s life, bearer of her most important things – is also a disorganized bag full of junk.  But that’s where the opportunity exists for marketers to fulfill unmet needs.”

Styring found that 95 percent of U.S. women aged 18-64 carry a purse every day, and that they carry two or three purses on a regular basis.  Since women make 70 percent of all retail buys, that purse becomes a key purchasing instrument, the only physical link between the home (where needs are created) and the store (where those needs can be fulfilled).  

“If you put your product in every purse, the available sales potential is 212 million units,” explains Styring. “For frequently purchased items, say on a monthly basis, the sales potential skyrockets to 2.5 billion units.  The missed sales opportunities are worth billions of dollars every year to marketers.”

Styring spent 100 hours interviewing 100 women and cataloguing 100 purses and their contents – an astounding 45,000 cubic inches filled with 6,670 objects weighing 340 pounds.  In addition to the expected wallets, lipsticks and cell phons, she found some unexpected things like weapons, letters from prison, a summons for prostitution, and what was described as a “souvenir from a bachelorette party.”


A video about the study is available on YouTube.  Styring’s syndicated study results are available via  A companion book will be released in June.


About Kelley Styring and InsightFarm:

Kelley Styring grew up in Florida inspired by the people and events that occurred where her dad worked -- NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center.  After earning a degree in industrial design from University of the Arts in Philadelphia and pursuing a career in design with NASA and Black & Decker, Kelley discovered that her design work was always enhanced by people called “market researchers.”  Inspired yet again, she earned an MBA from the University of South Carolina and conducted a personal campaign to be hired by the marketing gurus at Procter & Gamble.  It worked, and she spent five years there learning how people all over the world diapered their babies and watching people shower, among other things, and applying that consumer insight to developing and marketing new and improved consumer products.  She then worked at Frito-Lay (part of PepsiCo) where she helped introduce the world to WOW! Olestra-based snack chips, managed market research for the company’s $8 billion snack product portfolio, and served as Director of Consumer Strategy and Insights.  


Kelley Styring founded InsightFarm in 2003.  InsightFarm is a consumer strategy and market research consultancy dedicated to driving business growth through consumer insight.  InsightFarm serves Fortune 100 companies that are leaders in the food, apparel, baby care, consumer electronics, medical, media, paper, communications and fitness industries.  InsightFarm is based at the Styring family farm in Northern Oregon, where Kelley’s husband Steve grows grapes and makes fabulous wines.  For more information, visit


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